We have over 35 years of combined professional experience in immigration legal services for the LGBTQIA+ community, and we've helped over 700 LGBTQIA+ immigrants obtain asylum in the United States with a 99% success rate.
We are an independent non-profit 501(c)3 organization and are not affiliated with or funded by the US government.
Angelita graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science. Prior to joining the Oasis team, she worked in workforce and youth development at nonprofits in San Francisco. The daughter of Central American immigrants, Angelita is passionate about immigrant rights and has volunteered for the San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative and the East Bay Naturalization Collaborative. In her free time, Angelita enjoys playing music, walking her friend’s dog June, and looking at memes on the bird app.
Melissa Diaz-Infante is a graduate of Boston College, where she attended as a Gates Millennium Scholar. Originally from Salinas, CA, she softened the sense of culture shock by working in college radio and desperately making tamales using banana leaves. Now in the Bay Area for over 12 years, Melissa still has no idea how she survived nor’easters and wears her winter coat any time it drops below 62 degrees. Analytical and creative, Melissa often seeks outlets that balance both sides of the brain. She has coordinated arts- and performance-related advertising at The San Francisco Chronicle and multi-faceted community arts projects for Intersection for the Arts, mentored young adults with Autism, worked on productions at Bindlestiff Studio, and has been a regular volunteer at Creative Growth Art Center for over two years. Melissa spends her free time going to live music shows, working on creative projects, riding her bike, and is learning Nahuatl.
Now an Oakland resident, Dominique Gelin grew up in Miami, Florida. Prior to joining Oasis, she worked on a number of political campaigns and eventually turned her attention to youth leadership development and civic engagement. Dom then entered the nonprofit world through a lovely interfaith organization based at The Presidio in San Francisco. Her love of logistics, a mean spreadsheet, and reminder e-mails make her the life of the party. When she’s not in the office, Dom enjoys live comedy.
Kusia is originally from Buffalo, NY, land of the snowy ‘lake effect’ and delicious wings. She earned her BA from Swarthmore College and MA from the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies, with a focus on China. Kusia’s interest in law started with an American Bar Association fellowship in Lviv, Ukraine, where she facilitated a rule of law democracy building project through partnership with a Ukrainian environmental public advocacy center. Kusia comes to Oasis with a UC Hastings JD and experience in various aspects of asylum law, having represented asylum seekers in affirmative, defensive, and appellate proceedings. Kusia obtained an Abascal Fellowship to develop the first staff attorney position at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, where she focused on gender-based affirmative asylum claims. Kusia then served as a Staff Attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Prior to starting at Oasis, Kusia served as an Asylum Officer with the San Francisco Asylum Office. When not working with asylum seekers, Kusia enjoys spending time with her family and pursuing outdoor adventures.
Ari graduated from UC Berkeley Law School in May 2018 and started a one-year Tom Steel Fellowship from the Pride Law Fund in September 2018. Ari is a Bay Area native and became interested in immigration work when their friends began coming out as undocumented in college. Ari has interned with Catholic Charities of the East Bay, California Rural Legal Assistance, and the USCIS Ombudsman’s Office. As a snapshot of Ari's work, they are currently representing clients in their lawful permanent residency applications, counseling clients on eligibility for social services and discrimination issues, and collaborating with state and local groups on immigration and public benefits policies. Ari is anti-borders, anti-prison, and very pro-tacos. In their free time, Ari loves to do crafts, experiment with makeup, and dabble in drag.
Rachel is a Bay Area native - born in Oakland and grew up in Berkeley – and now lives in Richmond. She always knew she wanted to be lawyer so after graduating from Berkeley High and Wesleyan University in Connecticut with a BA in Latin American Studies, Rachel enrolled at New York University School of Law hoping to change the world. During law school Rachel interned for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, in the Parole Division at the Public Defender Services of Washington, D.C., the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and Make the Road New York, an immigrant rights advocacy organization. Rachel’s love of working with clients brought her to Miami after law school where she worked for three years as a public defender and then back to Berkeley as a staff attorney at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. At EBSC, Rachel helped run the LGBTQ/HIV Asylum Program and supervised pro bono attorneys and law students. Rachel is fluent in Spanish after time spent living and studying in Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador. In her non-Oasis life, Rachel enjoys spending time with her partner, son, and dog, Didi (a frequent officer visitor), exploring all the beauty and quirkiness the Bay Area has to offer.
Caroline is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar in June of 2013. Prior to Oasis, she was an Emerson Legal Fellow at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) for four years. At EBSC, she oversaw the Program for Unaccompanied Minors. Caroline has dedicated her career to social justice issues, working with organizations such as the East Bay Community Law Center, the War Crimes Studies Center in Cambodia, and the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy in India.
Nicholas graduated from Stanford University in June 2017 with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. Nicholas was editor of the National Section of the Stanford Political Journal and previously interned in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. Nicholas is a triple citizen (US, Brazil, Ireland) and speaks Portuguese and Spanish. At Oasis, he works primarily with clients to prepare their asylum cases. Nicholas is a Department of Justice Accredited Representative. In his free time, Nicholas enjoys skiing and traveling, and he is a huge fan of the Brazilian national soccer team.
Maria Elena is a Bay Area native and lives in Berkeley, California. Maria Elena mastered her listening skills while attending Berkeley High. She was the listener of her group and listened tentatively to her friends’ problems. She tried to offer the best guidance possible. Not surprisingly Maria Elena graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in psychology. Maria Elena thought she would one day be a child psychologist but little did she know her life would follow a different path. After graduating college, she began working in legal immigration services at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC). She worked at EBSC for fourteen years. She served as Coordinator of EBSC’s Asylum Program and was also a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative. At EBSC, Maria Elena discovered her passion for serving the LGBTQIA+ community, as an ally and advocate, and started EBSC’s LGBTQ/HIV Asylum Program in 2012, filing over 200 cases per year. Maria Elena’s clients continue to be her inspiration for doing the work that she does. At Oasis, Maria Elena is also a Department of Justice Accredited Representative. In her free time, Maria Elena enjoys spending time with her family and crafting.
Board of Directors
Isaak is an educator and somatic practitioner, teaching transformative practices to individuals and groups. He has been working with Bay Area nonprofits for the past ten years in development, program directing, and organizing. His leadership experience includes consulting with San Francisco Women Against Rape, Education Director with Bay Area Midrasha and board participation with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
China is Director of Operations and Finance at SumOfUs, a global digital campaign organization working to curb the growing power of corporations. China spent over 20 years at Tides as CFO, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director. She also serves on the boards of 350.org and the ACLU of Northern California.
Jessy’s volunteering and activism for the LGBTQIA+ Latinx community started at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and she later began participating in fundraisers and HIV/PrEP education.
Arata brings several years of experience supporting Bay Area non-profit and public agencies with strategic planning, policy analysis and financial management. As a native of Japan, he is passionate about working to promote immigrant/refugee rights and has worked on a number of LGBT asylum cases with founding members of Oasis.
Jack trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, India and Burma and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology, is a father, husband and activist, and author of 15 books.
Anna grew up in The Netherlands and came to the US when she was thirteen years old. Her last name is pronounced "Lay-part". She graduated from UC Berkeley in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the era when we still had to feed computers Fortran cards. In her early forties, her career took an unexpected turn when she started volunteering at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC). At EBSC, Anna found her new calling: She became a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative specializing in U Visa and affirmative asylum cases. Anna established EBSC’s U Visa Program for immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She is one of the co-founders of Oasis and served as volunteer Executive Director for two years before dedicating herself to the Oasis Legal Team. Anna has represented over 250 asylum seekers at their asylum interviews. In 2018, she was a Diablo Valley Magazine Threads of Hope honoree; watch her video here. In her spare time, Anna is an avid hiker, backpacker and mountain climber. She also plays saxophone in local jazz bands. She does not have any pets but wishes she had a Chinese Crested dog and/or a Komondor.
Daniel is a social worker in private practice. Previously, he was a Senior Director at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Dignity Health in San Francisco, where he developed their community services including their HIV services and the Glide medical clinic. He was one of the early innovators in social workers’ response to AIDS. Daniel served for many years on the Board of Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco and served as Board Chair.
Rev. Rhina Ramos is an ordained United Church of Christ minister leading an open and affirming Spanish speaking congregation in Oakland. Her church, Ministerio Latino, was started in 2011 to welcome Latinx immigrants and also members of the LGBTQ community. Rhina was born in El Salvador and grew up during the civil war. Her understanding of the fight for justice was influenced by watching people rise up to fight for their human rights. In addition, as a lesbian woman, Rhina understands the experience and challenges Oasis clients face. She graduated from Hofstra University Law School in 1995, and practiced labor law for 5 years recuperating thousands of dollars in back pay for immigrant workers.
Dustin is a certified specialist by the State Bar of California in Immigration and Nationality Law and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He currently owns a private practice, Bankston Immigration Law Office. Dustin graduated from University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento with distinction. While in law school, Dustin began training in immigration law, working in the immigration clinic helping low-income individuals with their cases. After graduation , he volunteered at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant attending asylum interviews with indigenous Guatemalans and LGBT asylum seekers.
Mike received his BS in EECS at UC Berkeley and his MBA from UCLA. During his career he has worked for iconic tech companies including Apple and Yahoo! as well as several Silicon Valley startups. He has supported many progressive causes and is excited to be assisting the Oasis team in their mission.